So, all of Tony's superpowers? All of them were Vadinho's doing, using ancient Aztec magic to make it seem like Tony could fly, use "puma claws," and all that other stuff. His technique was so effective that Tony came to believe himself that he had superpowers! With his Unwitting Pawn now in play, and Kobras hot on his trail, Vadinho was able to see just what they could do without putting himself in any danger. Though Tony was ineffective against them, it proved to Vadinho that the organization were really a bunch of pansies, even with the Mind Control mask in possession, and so he went to work kicking ass and taking names on them once he no longer needed Tony.
So, in the end, Vadinho can be a bit manipulative, but there's no arguing with results; he took down Kobras, destroyed the mask, and saved the world. (Admittedly, he also got a few innocent Puma Man candidates killed along the way...)
- How long was Vadinho give Tony the power to "sense danger" or see in the dark, powers that be possessed way before they met each other?
- Tony's father, who really was a great and heroic Pumaman, saw early on that his son was a wuss. So, he conferred with Vadinho (who's much older than he looks) and got his help in setting up those powers early on. Then, he gave Vadinho permission to do the rest on the grounds of, "Sure, my kid is a loser, but at least he'll have the chance to do something semi-useful with his life, if only by proxy." So, the theory holds, except that Tony wasn't some random American schmuck; he was a specifically-chosen American schmuck.
- This theory does explain how Tony never noticed he had super strength until being told, despite having been in fights in-costume by that point.
- Perhaps the opening scene gives a clue. The weird Space Aztecs leave the mask at not-quite-Stonehenge, the booming alien guy voice goes "....with this mask, I'll always be with you....". The mask itself is a stand-in for the Great God Puma. In other words, the mask is the god by proxy so his guidance & powers can remain on Earth. The mind-control thing is really just misusing the god-powers of the mask rather than the sole chief function. Puma Man is the Protector of the Mask (Puma's stand-in on Earth). Kobras basically took control of the Puma god (in a way). This is one reason why the Gods couldn't just swoop down & do everything themselves, they were compromised & could only help from afar.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Rob Liefeld's favorite childhood film!